The Communist Party of China (CPC) held the sixth plenary session of its 19th Central Committee recently, which gained much attention from the media in Singapore and around the world. Many media outlets described the session as historic and of landmark significance, as indeed it was.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the CPC. Under its leadership, the Chinese people have successfully achieved the first centennial goal in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and are moving towards the second centennial goal of building a great modern socialist country.
At this major historical juncture, it is of great significance to figure out why the past has been successful and how it can continue to succeed in the future, so as to strengthen the confidence of the CPC in leading the Chinese people on this new journey.
The session passed the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century, the third such resolution in the CPC’s 100-year history. The two earlier resolutions played an important role in advancing and leading the cause of the CPC. The latest resolution, like the previous two, would further unify the party's thinking, will, and action, and is a political manifesto for the new generation of CPC members to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, bearing in mind its founding mission and original aspiration, and an action plan for leading the people to achieve the great rejuvenation of the nation.
Strength in unity
A century ago, the CPC started with just over 50 members. Today, with over 95 million members and leading a country of 1.4 billion people, it is the largest ruling party in the world with major global influence.
Under the leadership of the CPC, China has gone from being divided and scattered to having a high degree of unity and national solidarity; from being poor and weak to a strong and prosperous moderately affluent society; from being a passive victim of bullying to independent, firm, and confident. In just a few decades, it has completed the process of industrialisation that developed countries took centuries to accomplish, creating the double miracles of rapid economic growth and long-term social stability. The success of the CPC is clear to all.
Over its century of experience, one important lesson is that to govern a large party and country well, it is crucial to ensure the unity and centrality of the party, as well as to uphold the authority of the central party leadership.
History records human activities and their consequences, including patterns detailing the rise and fall of nations, and the success and failure of political parties. The deeper the understanding of history, the more one seizes one’s own future. As a Marxist party, the CPC reviews the achievements of the past century, sums up historical experience and understands historical patterns, with the aim of upholding the truth, correcting mistakes, promoting good practice, and taking in lessons, in order to ensure that the party is going in the right direction.
Over its century of experience, one important lesson is that to govern a large party and country well, it is crucial to ensure the unity and centrality of the party, as well as to uphold the authority of the central party leadership. With over 95 million members in the CPC, 56 ethnic groups and 1.4 billion people in China, it can easily fall apart and accomplish nothing if there is no core in the central party leadership, and no core in the party’s overall leadership.
Guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in China’s journey
At the sixth plenary session of its 19th Central Committee, the CPC has established Xi Jinping’s core position on the central committee and in the party as a whole, and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This is the call of the times, the choice of history, and the aspiration of the people. By upholding Xi’s core position, the CPC has its helmsman, the Chinese people have their anchor, and the party and the people would be more united as they head towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The CPC summarised the history of its 100 years of endeavours to guide the party in advancing steadily in the right direction on its new journey, not to export its ideology, value system or development model. China respects the rights of the people of all countries to independently choose their own development paths in accordance with their national conditions and sovereignty, because this is what China does. At the same time, based on equality and mutual respect, China supports learning and exchanges among different civilisations, systems and even some countries with different beliefs. For example, conducting exchanges on issues concerning democracy.
Democracy is a shared value of humanity and a key tenet unswervingly upheld by the CPC and the Chinese people. However, different countries will have different democratic practices according to their national conditions.
Democracy is a shared value of humanity and a key tenet unswervingly upheld by the CPC and the Chinese people. However, different countries will have different democratic practices according to their national conditions. The people of various countries would have the most direct sentiments about their democratic practices and have the most say in them.
Whole-process people’s democracy
China’s democracy is a people-centred democracy. It is a whole-process people’s democracy that includes all the elements of democratic politics such as electoral democracy, deliberative democracy, social democracy, grassroots democracy, and civic democracy. It covers all areas of the democratic process such as democratic elections, democratic consultation, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision. It not only has a complete set of institutions and procedures, but also full participation and practices, and achieves a unity of democratic processes and democratic results, procedural democracy and substantive democracy, and direct democracy and indirect democracy, as well as people’s democracy and national will.
The Chinese people are very confident in their political system. The Washington Post reported in May this year the results of a poll conducted by Canadian academics, which found that Chinese citizens’ trust in the government was as high as 98%. In fact, all major legislative decisions in China are made through democratic deliberation. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, 187 draft laws have been released to the public for comments, and approximately 1.1 million people have submitted more than three million opinions and suggestions. The resolution passed at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee has also adequately taken in opinions of all sides after extensive consultation.
Currently, the major achievements and historical experience of the CPC over the past century have been summed up clearly, and the Chinese people are confidently marching forward on the new journey to build China into a great modern socialist country. Through its development, China will provide more opportunities for and inject strong impetus into the region and the world. It will pursue mutual benefit and win-win cooperation and development, and continue to contribute wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilisation.
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